The Lesson of TGI Friday's: Never Take the Customer for Granted

I went to a restaurant the other night that used to be great: terrific food, nice service and reasonable prices. Thing is, the place got to be so popular, that the folks who worked there stopped trying so hard.

They've jacked up their prices, the food has become bland and, worst of all, they're rude to their customers. The attitude now is: Why should I worry about you when there are so many others waiting to get in?

Well, you know what? I'm willing to bet that pretty soon there won't be a lot of people waiting to get in. It takes time, but eventually word gets around.

Years ago, the same thing happened to a restaurant chain called TGI Friday's.

After an incredibly successful start, the folks who worked there got lazy. As long as folks were waiting in line to get in, the workers didn't worry so much about the frustrated customers who were walking away. And, sure enough, all of a sudden, people stopped coming.

The founder of the chain began to make spot checks of the restaurants and realized what was going on. He cracked the whip and gradually the chain built up its reputation again. But it took a long time and a huge marketing effort.

The lesson is that you can become a victim of your own success, unless you always keep in mind that you are not responsible for your success — your customer is.

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David Asman is the host of "Forbes on FOX" which airs on the FOX News Channel, Saturdays at 11 a.m. ET.